New staff hired for Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools (MVPS) administrators are hiring new staff as they gear up for another school year.

Superintendent of schools James Weiss said in a phone call Monday he has been interviewing candidates for assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, a position left vacant by Laurie Halt. She is moving to California where her husband, Michael, former West Tisbury School principal, took a new job as principal of San Clemente High School.

Mr. Weiss said he has one candidate left to interview, which he hopes to do next week.

In other changes, Alecia Barnes will take the reins from Robyn Gurney as the early childhood coordinator on the superintendent’s staff on October 1. Ms. Barnes currently works as the coordinator for the Island’s early intervention program, run by the state Department of Health through Cape Cod Child Development in Hyannis. Another new hire, Margaret “Midge” Jacobs, will work with her two days a week. Ms. Gurney will be a special education teacher at West Tisbury School this year.

Donna Lowell-Bettencourt left her position as the MVPS interim director of student support services last Friday to assume her new job as West Tisbury School’s principal. Mr. Weiss said that Ralph Friedman and Ed Orenstein, two retirees who formerly worked as special education directors elsewhere, will fill in until a new director of student support services is hired. A search has yielded some candidates, and interviews are scheduled next week, he added.

Mr. Weiss said there are several teaching jobs to fill this year, as well as positions for educational support professionals (ESP), due in part to a large number of retirees. Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School is doing the most hiring, followed by Oak Bluffs School and the Up-Island Regional School District.